Thursday 7 March 2019
We need to talk about vegetation!
Professor James Hitchmough
Vegetation is critical to the resolution of many of the great environmental and sustainability challenges of the twenty first century. To address these, it is important that landscape architects have an in-depth understanding of vegetation from the very large scale to the very small, including both design and long term management. Most landscape architects think they know something about plants but in reality the depth of understanding is often very shallow. This is a significant problem within a discipline in which most participants have severed their formal connections with biological understanding of the world at age 16. What are we to do about this? its a tough nut to crack, and it may be un-crackable but we need to at least talk about it rather than delude ourselves that everything is good.
James Hitchmough is Professor of Horticultural Ecology, and until recently, Head of Department, at the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield. His research interests lie in the development of new approaches to planting design in urban places, and what human beings think of this. He is also a practitioner and has worked on many of the major vegetation-focused projects in the UK over the past 25 years, including as the co-conceiver of planting design at the London Olympic park. He travels very extensively to work on international projects, for example in China, the USA and Australia, but mostly to look at vegetation in the wild both as an inspiration and a source of understanding.
To gain a better understanding of his world see his Instagram feed jameshitchmough